Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Summer Salads

During the summer we eat a lot of dinner salads. These aren't your typical run-of-the-mill Iceberg lettuce and mealy tomatoes, oh no. These are fill-you-up, stuff-your-face, lick-the-plate salads. They're perfect for hot summer evenings when turning on the oven makes you break a sweat. They're also great for lunches when you just don't feel like making much of an effort. As long as everything is prepared ahead of time, you can grab and go. If you take this to work, I recommend packaging each component separately so your greens don't get wet and wilty before lunchtime.

Tonight's salad was a variation on one of our favorite themes--chicken apple sausage salad. This "recipe" has changed as many times as we've made it. This time, the sausage was chicken mango sausage from Trader Joe's (minimally processed, no artificial ingredients). I sliced three of the five sausages and browned them in a nonstick skillet until they were sweet and golden brown and then let them cool to room temp. The greens I had tonight were Romaine, baby spinach, and arugula (love that stuff), and big hearty handfuls of each went into my salad bowl and were tossed with a large diced Roma, two green onions that needed to be used, 1/4 cup bleu cheese, 1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds, and 1 cup diced fresh mango. This mango was so deliciously sweet! (My son wanted nothing else to eat once I put some on his high chair tray. In fact, he threw his barely-nibbled cinnamon graham cracker on the floor in favor of the fruit.)

I piled the browned sausage circles on top of the greens-and-goodies and went to town on my vinaigrette--another aspect of this meal that is never the same thing twice!

I squeezed a 1/2 lemon that I had (leftover from making a batch of hummus this afternoon) and to that added two big glugs of extra virgin olive oil, a splash of white balsamic vinegar, some cracked black pepper, sea salt, a bit of pureed mango, and a squirt of honey once I tasted it and thought it was too tart. It thickened nicely after whisking for a few seconds, and we were ready to eat. Incidentally, this is how I do most of my cooking: dashes, splashes, handfuls, tasting and adjusting... it's part of what I love about cooking! It's also why I'm not that great of a baker. :)

One of my favorite things about salad night is that while the salad fills me up at dinner, I still have enough room for another mini-meal (or dessert...whatever) without going overboard on calories. Tonight's treat was a few small squares of 72% dark chocolate and another helping of that insanely sweet mango. When I told The H that I could finish off the rest of what was in the fridge myself (what started from three very large whole mangos), he informed me that I'd have some competition. Definitely looking forward to that on my cottage cheese for a snack tomorrow!

No comments:

Post a Comment